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Archive for March, 2007

Beans, Beans, Beans (and a free lunch)

March 30th, 2007 at 08:37 pm

Went and used more of my coupons for beans. Bought 18 cans. Effectively was paid $3.18 to take them home with me!

Did I ever mention how much I love coupons and sales?

Oh and a friend bought my lunch today. Free lunch and free stuff. Life is good!

Some excellent shopping and Couponing

March 29th, 2007 at 05:22 pm

Bought:

9 cans of Heinz Beans
dozen eggs
2 2pks onion soup mix
Splenda (200 pkg)
Milk (2L)
Oatmeal Packages
Shampoo and Conditioner (Herbal Essence)
Gel and Hairspray (Herbal Essences)

Used about $24 in coupons, spent $8.98

Couponing can really pay off some shopping trips!

Writing to Companies - Tetley

March 28th, 2007 at 09:46 pm

Cleaning out my cupboard I found an old container of Tetly herbal tea. I don't drink much herbal tea and had no idea of how long I had had this.

They send me back an email the next morning that was very useful

The shelf life of an unopened box of tea is approximately 2 years. The production code number indicates when the box/canister of tea was produced. If you have a canister, this number may be found on the bottom of the canister, and if it is a box, it is on the side panel of the box. For example, for the production code number that you have quoted, "3362", the "3" indicates the year, so the tea was produced in 2003. The "362" indicates that it was packaged on the 362nd day of the year (approximately December 28th). Therefore, the canister that you have
has passed its shelf life. Due to the sensitive nature of tea, once the box is opened (cellophane removed) the teabags themselves are very susceptible to picking up other odors or flavours. Therefore, in order to prevent the tea from becoming "tainted" by absorbing a foreign odour,
or from becoming "stale", we strongly recommend to our consumers that tea be stored in an air-tight canister mmediately upon opening, and placed in a cool, dry area.


This information allowed me to go through my tea stash and ditch most of it. I'm not in a phase where I'm drinking flavoured tea so there isn't much point keeping it around. When I buy it in the future I'll likely buy 2 or 3 individual bags from the bulk food store rather than box that I'm not likely to finish.

I didn't ask for a coupon or expect to get one - and I didn't.

Writing to Companies - Nestle

March 28th, 2007 at 09:39 pm

I've been giving more feedback to companies lately! Seeing what their response is.

Nestle - feedback on their Tollhouse Cookie dough with brownie bits ice cream. While up to nestle quality it was not what I thought I was buying. i wanted cookie dough ice cream and this was more like chocolate with bits of indistinguishable chocolate in it. So I wasn't very happy about it and send them a note. They sent me a coupon for $1 off my next purchase and a standard letter about sending stuff to quality control and thanking me for my feedback.

I will likely give the coworker the $1 coupon as she has kids and unless I want a "wide load" sign on my butt I don't need to be buying more ice cream.

Annoying websites

March 27th, 2007 at 04:00 pm

I went to a website yesterday that had wee window pop up to say that they would send you a free product coupon in exchange for completing a short survey.

I filled it out. Then for some reason clicked back and realised that the offer ended in February.

I then tried to complete a form to send a comment to the company to tell them about their outdated web page. I tried to send it twice but have no idea if it went or not.

Had this been some small mom and pop company I wouldn't be so annoyed. But this was Alberto Culver (hair stuff). I really think that multinationals with mega staff and budgets should be able to keep their websites up to date and have response forms that work.




Landlord sent me money

March 26th, 2007 at 03:51 pm

Got my interest cheque in respect of my last month's rent payment - $61 - Yeah it is rent on my money but still nice when the landlord sends me a cheque rather than me sending him one.

That will happen again soon enough - the first is not that far away!

Freaking Passwords and Security Questions

March 22nd, 2007 at 09:19 pm

Dang it! Dang it! Dang it!

If its not enough we all have 5 million passwords to remember now we have to remember security questions too.

Obviously by the tone of this post I am not going a good job of this.

Now I'm locked out of my checking and savings accounts.

Store Closing

March 22nd, 2007 at 08:51 pm

The food basics (a basic sort of grocery store - a cross between a regular grocery store and an aldi) near me is closing.

The guy who decided what goes on the signs for the store closing wasn't the sharpest. The signs in huge lettering had store closing Thursday March 24th.

I don't know if another store is going there or if that location is just gone! Too bad I liked that location cause it was handy, had good hours and was never too crazy.

Guys and Dolls

March 21st, 2007 at 09:16 pm

A friend and I share a subscription to a dinner theatre. Being the thrifty souls we are we go midweek so it is only half the cost it would be on the weekend!

Tonight was Guys and Dolls. I had never seen the performance and really enjoyed it, though I didn't like the voice of one of the singers that much!

Tomorrow morning is going to be painful.

Next week I'll learn how to operate the toaster...

March 20th, 2007 at 08:14 pm

Part of my exciting evening routine is to wash dishes and set up the coffee maker to come on automatically in the AM. Its so nice to wake up to a fresh pot of made coffee!



Anyways, tonight I'm merrily setting up the coffee maker and thinking all is well until a moment or two later when I heard the coffee perking. Setting it all up and then hitting the on button rather than the auto button (the auto button is the one that would have it perking tomorrow morning) is not a frugal activity or a time saver in case you are wondering.. .

Yes, I dumped the coffee and reset up the pot. I really enjoy the hot fresh coffee in the am - and a major money saver as I have pretty much totally kicked the drive though habit.


Update on Layoffs

March 20th, 2007 at 08:00 pm

The official corporate speak is that this isn't really layoffs. While some people (30 in total?) will be laid off at the end of the project it is a "consolidation' project and many of the jobs are relocating to other offices (cheaper rent and salaries in different areas of the company).

There are 40 people in our office that will be laid off including a number that work on our floor. It will not affect our department at all. Some will have on option so officially some will choose to terminate their employment rather than move to a different office. The date this all will happen is between now and the end of 2008.

I don't know who all this affects but I do know at least one person will likely end up unemployed. So while I'm not affected nor is my department it is still sad. We work on the same floor as a number of these people and every few months have a social type event with them (normally a potluck).

Layoffs (I think I'm safe though)

March 20th, 2007 at 09:28 am

There are layoffs being announced at my office today - at least that is what the rumour mill has out.

I'm pretty sure they don't affect the area I work in but I can still feel my stomach churning in worry. My manager is at a meeting about it right now.

A friend who I was chatting with mentioned on the weekend that she had heard we were having layoffs and that a lot of people would be losing their jobs. She knows someone else who works here I think. Not nice when you get advance notice of things from third parties who don't even work for the same compnay before you hear about them from offical channels

Some Advance Work for Freebies

March 20th, 2007 at 04:51 am

Quite often when there are contests that involve food products there is a option for an entry that doesn't involve purchasing the product. Taking advantage of this method of entry can sometimes result in getting a Free Product Coupon - allowing you to purchase the item for the cost of the postage and sometimes a self addressed stamped envelope. This particular offer didn't require the SASE.

So this past weekend I got organized and wrote out 20 entries (the rules allow one request per day via mail) and got them into envelopes, addressed and stamps, that way I can drop one in the mail every couple of days.

I'm planning to pick up a couple of the sauces for myself and likely will give away some of the FPC's as RAOKs.


Credit Cards for Teens

March 18th, 2007 at 03:41 pm

Can't say I'm impressed!

I just saw a advertisement for a Mastercard on MuchMusic - the Canadian version of MTV. The ad was marketing a credit card to teens. At the end of the ad there was some captioning on the screen about kids ages 13 and up and something about parents needing to give permission.

I think it is a prepaid credit card. But to my mind, teens don't need credit cards before they are able to even properly manage their allowance.

The entire ad is talking about freeing teens from parental control of how they spend their money. Sounds more like a quick way to hook kids into using a credit card to me. Get them hooked on a credit card early and they'll be paying you interest payments forever. Nice eh?

Two thumbs down for Mastercard and MuchMusic

http://www.muchmusic.com/muchmusiccard/
http://www.muchmusic.com/muchmusiccard/teen.asp

I'm so glad I don't own a MasterCard cause if I did I think I'd close it immediately.

Oh just updating this to mention the $39.95 one year "membership fee" plus the $1.50 charged each time Mommy or Daddy reloads it plus a whole host of other fees ... nice deal for Master card ...

Sunday cooking

March 18th, 2007 at 02:04 pm

I did my normal Sunday cooking spree today.

So far have made a huge crust less quiche (using up the eggs that needed to be used), with broccoli, mushrooms, cheddar, peppers, onion and garlic. A full crock pot of chili is nearly finished cooking and I made up a huge batch of broccoli salad (with red onion and cheese).

Still on the agenda are "healthy shake" chicken thighs (using cornmeal and spices rather than shake and bake) and to make up the cole slaw mix I have.

I'll be eating well next week.

Using coupons can be hard

March 17th, 2007 at 10:14 am

Used $9 worth of coupons today. Effectively got two products for free (it is sweet when the coupon covers the sale price of the product) and got some other items for about 1/3 of their regular cost.

Cashier credited me with $7.60 in coupons. I'm still not quite sure how she did that when being given coupons as follows:

3@$2.00
4@$0.75

Ended up making a trip to the customer service desk for a cash refund of $1.40 to get things straight.

Its really wearying to have to argue and be so on top of things when using coupons. Still my entire order came up to $24 so I did some nice savings on my items.

Drugs, drugstores and better service

March 16th, 2007 at 08:22 pm

Went back to the evil store from hell (drugstore wise)this evening. Their customer service was better today. No I didn't complain about the lousy service the other day. I should have but while I'm not too busy to complain about it in a blog I am too busy to do anything about it that is actually constructive.

Sad eh?

Anyways, got the vitamins on sale that were out of stock the other day. The pharmacy assistant told the truth about how long the prescriptions would take to fill, the pharmacist took the time to go through the side effects of the pills with me and the copay only turned out to be (for both of them together) less than $7.

Ironically, or maybe just Interestingly I spent the morning at a pharmacy benefit managers office discussing changing a drug benefit plan for a client I'm involved with and who processes claims for my employer's drug plan. Yes, my claims went through with no trouble even I was playing bad cop at the meeting - my role was to keep asking questions about how costs will increase and asking for stats to prove it!

I splurged on supper out too - a whole $4 - picked up some feista greek salad and some yummy bean salad at the take out counter of the grocery store. I will have to bet the bean salad again if only to work on figuring out the ingredients ( I hate it too fast to pay proper attention.

Customer Service - does it exist anymore?

March 14th, 2007 at 08:29 pm

Went in to the local drug store to get stamps - they sell stamps in books at the cash registers. Two cashiers were working.

Walked up to the cash register only to watch the cashier I approached walk away. Turned around and walked over to the other cash and saw the quickly departing first cashier and said "What happened I got to your cash and you just walked away?"

She looked at me and said "Yes" and continued on her way.

Polite words can not express just how special she made me feel.

Finally it was my time for service and they didn't have the stamps I wanted "Oh yeah we ran out yesterday and don't have anymore". So I walked to the post office counter in the back of the store and I lined up again. Guess it was too difficult for the store to go buy stamps there... I did get my stamps finally, but it took about 10 minutes cause the girl working the counter there had one customer in front of me who had one item and customs forms etc had to be filled out...

Oh and while in the store I saw something else I wanted but they were sold out.

Dang its hard to spend money some days. Yes I did eventually get my stamps.

The cooking Demo was free :)

March 12th, 2007 at 07:50 pm

My friend called Loblaws where we went for the cooking demo last Wednesday. I was allowed to stay for it even though I wasn't on the paid sheet. The chef leading the class was very nice about it!

The girl at Loblaws remembers my friend phoning to register me (and pay for me). But she said she got busy so that she didn't process the order or put me down for it. She said it was her error and that they aren't going to ask me to pay! Excellent customer service on their part to make up for their error and the awkwardness of my not being on the sheet.

After I call ING to get my account unlocked (yeah never did call to get that cleared up), I'll put that $30 into my ING account! Money that you thought you spent that you didn't spend is really found money right?

Sad day

March 12th, 2007 at 05:56 pm

My life lately has not been abundant with good things. I'm now single again.

Good news: Save money on gas travelling

Bad news: I'm really going to miss him. Not going to be in the US much anymore - so no address for freebees and my recent foray into CVS ECB is for naught. Not really important in the grand scheme of life but still..

CVS Deals how do those extra care bucks work anyways

March 10th, 2007 at 04:12 pm

Today was the first time I did any of the CVS deals that get you extra care dollars. Was surprised not to even see a note about them on the receipt. Only note was that I get $2.50 off my next sleep aid. I'm using those these days to sleep so likely will use that in the next few days.

Bought 2 Excedrin products - the two of them came to *just* $20 but hopefully I'll get the extra care bucks for $20. Also bought Aleve that was supposed to get me another $1 in Extra care bucks.

In next weeks flyer they mention that buying 2 intuition cartridges gets you $10 extra care bucks. I use intuition so that seems a good deal (though dang it those are expensive, at least I have one $2 off coupon).

If life is really good maybe I can use the extra care bucks I hopefully got today on monday to purchase the intuition and get more extra care bucks..

A lazy friday

March 9th, 2007 at 01:07 pm

Haven't done much at all today. Slept in a bit. Went through last weekends paper for coupons. A bit of culling out of expired coupons from my coupon stash. Made lunch. Napped, now surfing.

The nice thing about a lazy day is that you don't end up spending any money.

Have to shower soon though. We are heading over to a friend's house this evening and it would probably be nice if I was dressed and showered. I'm still in my PJ's and its after 4 in the afternoon.

Discount at the Duty Free

March 8th, 2007 at 05:13 pm

I picked up a case of Smirnoff Ice at the duty free - Also picked up a 12pk of Sleemans Cream Ale (an excellent beer).

The carton for the beer was a bit banged up but it was beer. So long as the bottles were intact I wasn't fussy about the case - it looked like it would hold together to get the beer to where I was going!

Anyway I got to the cash and the cashier said "I'm giving you 10% off because the case is damaged". I thanked her and she said that when people ask they give them 10% off in this circumstance so she offers it to everyone.

I profusely thanked her and made a mental note to ensure that I ask for this in the future if my beer case has a "boo-boo".

I'm usually good about asking for discounts but this one I'd have missed entirely but for this cashier.


Internet Cafes

March 8th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Tried the McD's that I found last trip - but their internet wasn't working. A word to the Assistant Manager got me the advise to sit near the TV. She didn't offer to reset the router or even see if it was on.

And where she told me to sit?...Um..what about those people there? She wasn't very helpful. If they claim they have WIFI they should try to manage to have it in the entire restaurant..Or they should teach their staff how to turn it on (my computer didn't find any wireless networks).

I'm at Panera now. Enjoying a coffee and cookie and some blogging! (Do I feel high tech or what?). And bonus, my seat is right beside a plug so I'm borrowing some hydro (the stuff some folks call electricity) to recharge my battery!

Off for the rest of my drive in a few minutes!

Went to a Cooking Demo

March 7th, 2007 at 09:14 pm

This class I took tonight was great. Southern cooking - they made rice and beans, maple glazed veggies, pecan encrusted cod,chicken style chicken and this this great ice cream dish.

I didn't eat before the class. I'm so glad I didn't. The "tasting" was not stingy by any means. The food was awesome. Not fussy but good hearty comfort food. The sort of food you love to eat but can't eat all the time unless you want to gain a lot of weight.

Learnt about starting things like fish and chicken in the fry plan (when breading etc) and then finishing it up in the oven. Probably an old trick for most but one I'd never heard of and one that I'm definitely going to use in the future.

Only low points - Room was cold and I wasn't on the sign up sheet. They let me sit in the class anyways and not pay. But tomorrow my friend will phone and find out what's going on. I love being frugal but I'm not going to be cheap. It was a great class with an excellent instructor. Not sure exactly what happened and I'm too tired tonight to go through my visa bill to figure out what happened. But I'll pay after the fact if it messed up.

Buying Gas can be tough

March 5th, 2007 at 10:02 am

Pulled up to the pump. Price was $1.02 a litre (OUCH). Still one can't drive on an empty tank. Put in my debit card. Invalid password. Tried again. Same message.

Went to the booth (this feels almost wrong in today's pay at the pump world). She says that debit doesn't seem to be working right at the pump.

So I prepay $20 using my debit card which had no issues at all this time around.

Go pump the gas. At $19.70 (the tank is no where near full - that's no where near enough to fill up an empty tank these days)the pump refuses to dispense any more gas.

So back to the booth I go. The girl has the change out for me "that happens a lot" she says.

I don't normally stop at this gas station so it isn't like I'll have to actively avoid filling up there in the future. But I won't be back that's for sure.

Sunday cooking

March 4th, 2007 at 03:44 pm

I am going away for a few days after Wednesday (a Mini March break!) So I kept the cooking simple.

Yesterday I made a crust-less quiche. This week it was made with mushrooms, broccoli, onion, garlic and eggs. Last night I had a hankering for some macaroni and meat with tomato sauce. So I cooked up extra of each. Today I made a spaghetti pie.

Essentially spaghetti pie (though given I used macaroni I probably should call this macaroni pie) is an easy version of lasagna. Pasta goes in the bottom layer in a large casserole dish, mixed with beaten eggs and some Parmesan cheese. On top of that I put a layer of no fat cottage cheese, with a touch of nutmeg in it. The top layer was the pasta sauce that had spinach, mozzerella and lean ground beef in it. I baked this, covered in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. It turned out wonderful and made enough for 8 meals. I actually used no fat ingredients and this qualifies as a core dish for WW.

That's it for the cooking I did today. I didn't sleep well last night and have pretty muched lazed the rest of the day away!

Scanning code of practise

March 4th, 2007 at 07:02 am

I start leaving the store and hear the lady who was behind me in the line and who I did say a few words to while I checked out say to the cashier about her item "oh the sign says $4.99 but says that price ended yesterday so will I get it at that price". The cashier runs it through and says "no its 6.99 now". I have no idea what "it" was.

That store participates in the Scanning Code of Practise (SCOP). SCOP says that when an item that isn't price stickered rings up at the wrong price (not the price on the shelf) you get it free (if under $10). http://www.frugalshopper.ca/links/article.php?n=5

Im partway to the door but I hear the exchange clearly and realise they aren't following the SCOP rules and are in effect going to rip this lady off. I turn around and say in a loud voice (I'm not screaming or rude, just enunciating well...) " shouldn't she get it for free under scanning code of practise". The customer in question gives me a huge smile and thumbs up and the cashier suddenly is saying "yes, that's right" and paging a stock boy for a price check.

After the comment and a quick grin to the customer I left, with a great big grin on my face. No idea if she got it or not but feel good that I didn't let them snow her.

Its not a store I shop at regularly so not worried what the cashier thinks of me. I know I made the customer happy. I really hate when store clerks decide that following rules that their store abides by isn't what they are going to do. I don't care if they think that we are getting a deal we shouldn't. The store is part of the program so abide by the rules please.

Online Trades

March 3rd, 2007 at 07:59 am

There is some common sense stuff you can do quietly if you are thinking about trading with someone (be it coupons, gift cards or what not)

Use the search feature on the forum . On most forums you can search by nick and see someone's posts. Failing that google their ID. Look at where the person posts, how they contribute. Then use your common sense filter (the one in your brain).

I'm not saying don't trade with newbies. But why trade with folks who make negative posts, who only post about stuff they want? Did the person make a real introduction if they are new? Are they participating in the board or are they only popping up to ask for free stuff? Do you like their tone? Do they have attitude? What is the tone of their PM?

If your little voice speaks up then don't finalize the trade with them.

Oh and if the trade is too good to be true it probably is, if the person is too eager that can be a flag too!

Common sense. Based on what you've seen of them would you meet them at (insert name of your favourite place to go for coffee) for coffee? If you have no interest in meeting them, don't trade with them.

I don't do many trades online. But yes, I read one too many posts about folks bitching about trades while sipping my morning coffee.

Tired this morning

March 3rd, 2007 at 07:12 am

I'm tired this morning, but there is hope. I'm at least a two mug of coffee gal and not a one mug girl. And so far I've only had one mug.

Though I did while the coffee brewed get the dishes moved ahead. So at least the kitchen looks like only a small bomb hit it. Let's not get into what the rest of the place looks like, k?

Some real blog entries to come later as I get organized and moving on stuff that needs to get moving, both financial and otherwise.


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